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In Summary

  • Explore Edinburgh’s fascinating role in the history of ideas
  • Visit Old & New Town, tracing the tales of how it developed in the history of Europe
  • Enjoy a private tour with an expert guide
  • Mercat exclusive audio devices - get immersed and lost in the stories...


About this tour

Discover Edinburgh at the moment it transformed the worlds of history, science, literature and philosophy. On this private tour you’ll see a city that was home to an extraordinary concentration of great minds: David Hume, Adam Smith, James Hutton and Walter Scott.  

The enlightenment in Edinburgh transformed philosophy, history, science and literature. From this small stage, a few men laid the foundations of modern economics, and inspired great leaps for modern medicine. But how did Scotland’s capital gain its reputation as the Athens of the North? And what was it about the city that inspired so many thinkers?

Excitement and endeavour

On this private tour of Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns, your expert Mercat guide will conjure the excitement and endeavour of the men who met for intense meetings at The Select Society and The Poker Club. We’ll take you to places where it all happened – the university, the Surgeon’s Hall, the observatory. Forget the guide books – this tour brings a city of radical ideas to life.

Enquire about Enlightenment Edinburgh

Tour details


  • 1 hours 45 minutes

Tour location

  • Start point: Mercat Cross, High Street
  • End point: Calton Hill

Need help booking?

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Souvenir Guidebooks

Don’t forget to buy a Mercat Tours souvenir guidebook with your ticket.

See inside


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